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BBB offers tips for a successful job interview

  • Special to The Eagle
  • Published Saturday, Feb. 23, 2013, at 6:55 a.m.

Job interviewing can be a precarious time for the nervous job-hunter. The Better Business Bureau has rounded up some tips from several sources to help put jittery nerves at ease as you embark on the interviewing process.

Mashable.com has listed five of the most common mistakes one should avoid when being interviewed:

• Forgetting the interviewer’s name. Repeat their name back to them when introduced, as in “Very nice to meet you, Dave,” as a means of remembering it.

• Getting lost on your way to the interview. Take the time to look up the directions beforehand and do a test run if you are unsure about how long the trek will take.

• Letting tough questions make you tongue-tied. Practice answering difficult questions ahead of time.

• Failing to bring references. Contact information for at least three reachable job references should be brought to the interview.

• Failing to ask questions yourself. Most interviews conclude with “do you have any questions.” Think ahead and be prepared to ask thoughtful questions. That shows you are engaged, prepared and earnest.

What sorts of questions can you expect to be asked during the interview?

U.S. News and World Report has identified four types:

• Straightforward. The interviewer will talk about the role and specific tasks of the position you are interviewing for. They could ask you how your background prepares you for that job. You should draw parallels between your previous job and the new one, explaining how your skills and experiences are exactly what this job calls for.

• Behavioral. These are questions that deal more with your personality rather than particular skill sets. The interviewer wants to know how you confronted previous tasks to help predict what can be expected from you. Be sure that you appear comfortable with such questions.

• Be prepared with accounts of your successful experiences when you had to deal with disappointments, value conflicts and others’ failures.

Tell how you showed team spirit, leadership and went the extra mile for your employer.

• Situational. Situational questions are similar to the behavioral ones, but more specific.

An example of a problem may be given for you to deal with.

Remember to answer with a specific situation from your past and details about how you accepted the problem as a challenge and overcame it. But don’t fake it.

Employers can also be impressed by your willingness to research and seek advice from others.

• Brainteasers. These might be skill tests to see how developed your skill sets are. They may be looking for creativity, speed or something else about how you problem-solve, rather than an actual solution.

Remember that the interviewing process is a time for careful listening on your part. Respond to questions openly and directly. The interviewer is watching for clues about your competence and skills but also about your character and attitude. See if you can be alert and relaxed at the same time.

An over-eagerness to impress can trip you up. Interviewers can usually tell if applicants are faking it. Honesty can be a good counterpoint to the self-assurance that interviewers expect from you.

It’s always a good idea to check out your prospective employer with the Better Business Bureau, just as they are checking you out.

If you have questions or concerns contact us at 800-856-2417 or visit our website at www.kansasplains.bbb.org.

Denise Groene is the state director of the Better Business Bureau.

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